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Ohio lawmaker rightly condemned

Imagine the blind spot — the willful ignorance — one would have to be nurturing to utter sentences like this today:

“Could it just be that African Americans — or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves? Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence (of COVID-19)?”

Now, imagine how much more intentional such a thought process must be for someone well-enough educated to be a doctor and well-traveled enough to be an Ohio lawmaker.

There is no excuse for the assumptions made by state Sen. Stephen Huffman, R-District 5. There’s no excuse for his use of a label that is considered at best outdated and insensitive and at worst offensive. He has rightly lost his job as an emergency room doctor, as it is clear he has never worried much about the words in the Hippocratic Oath “I will do no harm or INJUSTICE to (my patients).” At the least it is clear he holds different, disturbing ideas about some patients.

A belief system that would prompt a doctor and state-level elected official to express such ideas or use such language does not begin and end with one man. He is a symptom of a frighteningly larger problem; particularly as it appears he felt no qualms about voicing such things out loud and/or believed he would suffer no consequences. We all must ask ourselves what made him so comfortable saying something he MUST have known most people would understand is patently wrong.

What made him think that kind of nonsense would be tolerated? We’ve got to be honest with ourselves about the answer.

“Words do matter,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in condemning Huffman’s remarks as “inappropriate and hurtful.”

So do votes. Huffman’s constituents will have to show him just how many people understand there is no place in state government for someone who thinks about human beings the way he does.

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